This One's Owen's Fault
Roleplaying Log: This One's Owen's Fault
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage fight. It's Owen's Fault.

Other Characters Referenced: Owen Mercer
IC Date: March 04, 2019
IC Location: Jones/Cage Apartment
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 05 Mar 2019 03:59
Rating & Warnings: Meh
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

There are certain things a person avoids when covered in blood, the front door of the building and the elevator being on the list. Thus Luke has come up from the basement using the stairs, thankfully the doorman doesn't have access to the security feeds because Lord only knows what other oddities he would have seen since working here. Flying horses on the rooftop, vigilantes using fire escapes and the occasional flaming rooster flying about.

The doorknob to their apartment jingles and rattles and then there is the sound of a boot lightly kicking it in lieu of a proper knock.

***

Jessica Jones has been doing a whole lot of looking, and not finding.

Looking for Owen. No dice. She's about to run back down the list of his contacts again to see if any of them have had better luck.

Looking for Willis Stryker. No dice.

Looking for a 13-year old kid who went missing from Queens earlier this week. Also. No dice.

And while she knows all cases hit lulls, while she has had periods like this before, they always put her into a vile mood. Throw up her hands and sit on the couch and eat Haagen-Daaz vile. Which is a vast improvement over throw up her hands, sit on the couch, and nurse Wild Turkey vile.

When she hears the doorknob jiggle, she looks up, narrowing her eyes. Jiggling and rattling and boots don't sound like anyone who should be here. She doesn't really look like anyone who is expecting an attack, save for the shift of the way she's holding the pint of ice cream, turning it into what would no doubt be a blinding weapon should she choose to put all her strength behind punching someone in the face with it. To say nothing of the punch behind it.

But it's a disaster of a different sort, and narrowed eyes widen.

"Jesus Christ, what the Hell happened?" She drops the ice cream and is up like a shot.

***

Luke's shoulders are slumped in what looks like defeat as he plods into the apartment, stopping by the door to toe off his boots and instead of nudge them into a nice line underneath their coat hooks, he just leaves them all willy nilly where they happen to be kicked.

"Turned over another flop house." The sort where you can buy a high and a place to crash to ride it out with fellow junkies. "It went south." It's sort of a half answer, considering the state of his clothing but at least she can be assured the blood isn't his?

***

She realizes about thirty seconds after her panic that unless someone poked his eye out, and his look fine, that it can't be his. But the knee-jerk reaction was certainly to have a moment where she thought it was.

Her brow furrows and she asks, "How south? Is someone dead? Tell me someone's not dead." Not that she thinks Luke killed anyone, but with him getting so close to working out some sort of a deal on the matter of clearing his name it seems like a real bad time for him to be anywhere near bodies hitting the floor. Even the bodies of drug addicts and drug dealers, which don't always generate the most attention or fucks out at the dear old NYPD.

Still, 'blame the meta' is probably a strategy that the real killer or killers could take.

* * *

"South, south." Luke grumbles as he pads past in his socks to the kitchen, yanking down the zipper to his green hoodie which now has dark spots all over it from where it was stained and a slash across the chest like someone tried to gut him. "I think the kid'll make it though. He jumped in to try and stop his buddy from his attacking me. Funny, huh?" Though Luke certainly isn't laughing as he elbows the faucet in the kitchen on to full blast. "I had to carry him to Harlem General, 911 said there was a twenty minute wait time before an ambulance could respond."

* * *

Nothing Jessica is hearing is improving her mood.

She snatches up the ice cream. She takes a bite of it. Holds the spoon in her mouth for a long moment. And finally?

She points the spoon at Luke. "Okay, Mister. You're done. No more. You can't afford this shit. I can't afford this shit. We can not afford this shit. Now you are associated with carrying a bleeding kid. If we're lucky, it looks like Luke Cage, Harlem Hero, carries bleeding kid into hospital, very heartwarming. Cause trust me. People saw you. Some might have known you. Cameras certainly saw you. And with luck and probably me calling Ulrich in a few and begging him? That's the narrative."

That spoon dips like a teacher's pointer.

"But the other way it could go is seriously, Luke Cage covered in gang kid's blood, associated with gang bullshit, probably his fault, probably a drug dealer himself, probably guilty of assault, or murder, or a few dozen more drug charges attached to your new name."

* * *

Luke glance goes from looking at Jess to being downcast at the sink, taking a step backwards so he is half bowed over the sink. Normally being given a directive from Jess wouldn't bother him, usually because she's right and hell she probably is in this case too, but it irks him for some reason. There is a growl to his voice, a thread of his temper shining through, "I can't just stop looking for him, Jess. Even if Owen is dead, I'm dragging his ass home."

* * *

"You can, and you will," Jessica says. "You're not a detective anyway, and you're not going to find him by doing this Kool-Aid man thing into crack houses or whatever it is you're doing. You say 'it went South' like it's a surprise, but to me it's more like, oh, I turned on the faucet and some water came out. It's the thing that happens. You walk into a crackhouse, things go south. You need to let me handle it. If he turns up dead he'll be in one of two city morgues, and I've already been checking. Dead people get found eventually. And if he's dead and so well-hidden he can't be found, guess what? You're still not going to find him the way you're trying to do it."

Never shying from saying exactly what's on her mind, her own voice sharpens considerably with an edge of answering temper. It's under control, for now, but it's there, a smoldering fuse waiting for full ignition.

* * *

Luke's knuckles tighten until they pale, fingers gripped on the edge of stainless steel sink he could probably crumple like an aluminum can if he wanted. If he wasn't restraining himself. "You're right, I'm not a detective. That doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing, Jones. You know, you don't need to clean up every one of my messes, right? There are some things I can handle." He forces himself to release his grip and shove his hands under the scalding water. "Since when did you start treating me like a special snowflake? I'd like my balls back when you're done crushing them."

* * *

Jessica's eyeroll is expansive.

"Uh-uh. No. See. You don't want to talk about the actual issue, which is, no, you shouldn't be doing this with your left hand while trying to get your name cleared with your right. You can't come up with a good argument for why you should keep doing this except that you're feeling emotional about it. You feel responsible for Owen, you don't like feeling helpless, so you'd rather do dumbass shit than nothing. A phenomenon I'm pretty familiar with, because I've done it myself."

She stabs her spoon into the ice cream and says, "So instead, you're going to try to turn this into an argument about your balls, with an utterly spurious charge about treating you as if you are a special snowflake, which is not in fact happening. I am in fact treating you like a partner who knows damn well he's got the risk-reward ratio screwed up here. Maybe there's some genuine bruised pride in there, but frankly Matt's the one cleaning up right now, not me or you. Nor do I think I have to clean up all your messes. But I'm damn sure going to alert you to the fact that you are fucking making one."

The edge in her tone has sharpened to slice the very air, though she isn't yelling yet.

* * *

While he was careful with the sink, Luke forgets to use the same measures with the hand soap so when he mashes down the pump lever, the plastic bottle sort of just crumples beneath his palm. But hey, at least his hands are covered in soap now, so objective complete. "You're damn straight I'm responsible for him. This is my fault. I gave him too much responsibility. Too much pressure." He's scrubbing his hands better than most surgeons would, but it's giving him something to focus on.

"I'm fucking bullet proof, Jess. If anyone should be scouring the crack dens, it should be me. He could be OD'ing in one right now, for god's sake. And your biggest argument is that I should be selfish? That ain't me, babe."

* * *

Jessica snorts. "He's not a fucking ten-year-old. He is an addict. He is a guy trying not to be a criminal. Giving him responsibility is a good thing. If you keep treating him like a special snowflake he's never going to crawl out of the hole he keeps digging for himself. And you want to know the bitch of it all? There's about a 75% chance he just went off the goddamn rails and is not in any trouble at all, but can't dig himself out of his depression, or his shame, to call one of us. Or he can't claw his way out from under the giant chip on his shoulder. Take your goddamn pick."

She stalks across the apartment to throw the ice cream away, mostly because her own hand tightened reflexively and now she has peanut-butter-and-banana ice cream all over her hand. She licks it away like the bohemian she is, and wipes her hand on her jeans with great vigour.

"It's not being selfish to stop doing something that puts you at risk but is unlikely to produce results. You'd have to find him by chance. People move in and out of those places constantly. Nobody remembers anyone else. Nobody wants to. If something went south because you were actively trying to save him from getting stabbed, fine. If something goes south because you're protecting an innocent life, fine. But right now shit is going south because you're putting yourself in a bad position on the less-than-6% chance you're going to get lucky, and that's bullshit."

* * *

"Then help me better those odds, because if I just sit on my ass waiting for him to come back to work or to his apartment? That's a big, fat ZERO percent chance and I'll take slim over none any day. So if I have to go into every bar, crack house, or liquor store between here and hell, I will. I'm doing this, Jess. If you want me to wait a few days until I sign on the dotted line with SHIELD, fine. But I'm doing this." Who knew it was possible to angrily dry off your hands? Luke some how manages.

* * *

"What the Hell do you think I've been doing! I've been looking for him too. He frequents two cities with millions of people in them, okay, it's not like…"

She blows out her cheeks. If she doesn't give Luke something productive to do he's definitely made it clear he will not be taking her advice. So she adds, "You don't fucking have time to wait. We're eleven days from showtime and we're lucky we got the reprieve we did. You're public, you're known, and on March 16th the…whatever the hell the new B.S. Bureau is called. B.M.S. Bureau of Meta Face Stomping."

She hops up onto the counter and sits on it, propping up one knee. "Finding indigents is always a pain in the ass," she mutters angrily. "And that's what he is at this point. Look, just…let me run through the phone tree again. Maybe someone's gotten lucky. Maybe there's a new lead."

* * *

Luke is quiet for a moment, letting his ire silently stew as he strips off his hoodie and the t-shirt underneath and shoves both the ruined articles into the trash. By the time he's down to just his jeans and socks, he's calmed down a notch. "Look. I'll give it until my name clears and you have a chance to make some calls, but then I've gotta get back out there."

He approaches Jess with his usual sureness, hands going to rest on her knees and nudge them apart so his hips can lean between them. "What scares me beyond him killing himself, is that he's not going to be at the wedding. Or he won't be Owen if he does show."

* * *

"He's always Owen. Owen high is still Owen," Jess says, a little bit tiredly. "Just like me-drunk is still me. And he's probably not going to O.D. at least. He can just vibrate the shit out of his system and boom, done. Now if you've heard anything about new heroin big-wigs out on the street, that might be a lead worth checking into. If he's using again someone had to sell it to him. Or he did something really stupid and stole it from someone, but if that's the case word will definitely be out on the street."

She pats his broad shoulder. "We just won't get married until his dumb ass shows up. It's not like I've figured out how to set a date, or where to put it, or much of anything."

* * *

Luke's hand shifts to her chin, drawing it down slightly so he can kiss her forehead. "I've got that handled. I might not be a great detective, but it turns out I'm one hell of a wedding planner. Your job will be just to show up and say 'I do', deal? You've got enough on your plate, it's the least I can do. Only thing I need to know is what you favorite flower is."

* * *

The relief on Jessica's face is palpable. "Oh. Good. Good, I'm glad."

And she is. Three hours in the dress shop paralyzed by indecision and wondering if any of those dresses would be practical in a fight has convinced her she can't do it.

She puts her arms around his neck and presses a kiss to his lips, sighing. And then: "People have favorite flowers? Um…"

She racks her brains. Trying to figure out what kinds of flowers she likes. "I only know roses, daisies, or violets. I've never had to pretend to be a flourist before, so I never studied it and it didn't come up in the random trivia reads. So I guess…one of those? Oh wait, carnations and mums. I know those too. Hydrangeas. No, I think a hydrangea is a kind of bush."

A pause. A beat.

"My cactus almost died because I didn't water it enough."

At least it's only almost. Feeling like a right mess now, she dips her head to rest her forehead against his.

"You know I have confidence in you. You do know that right? Me saying I don't like your methods doesn't change that."

* * *

Luke Cage says, "Carnations and mums are for funerals." Luke mumbles, whatever ember of temper that was lingering got smothered out with her kiss and now his hands are just resting, relaxed at her hips as they rest their foreheads together. "I know. I'm the first to admit that handling things with finesse isn't my strong suit. I'm a bull, I rush in horns first and just bowl things over until the answer shakes loose. If I hadn't shown up, that kid wouldn't be in the hospital. That's on me. I get it.""

* * *

Now there's a quick flash of consternation. Because Jessica's thoughts hadn't trended in that direction. They'd trended towards Seagate. Towards deals with SHIELD and registration. Culpability for the kid? No. Frankly if he hadn't gotten stabbed today a kid living that life would have another day. It's sick and it's sad and she hates it, but that's the world.

She opens her mouth. She's going to reassure him.

She closes her mouth.

She isn't.

If that is the thought process that will keep him from jeapordizing all of that, then that's the one she's going to leave in place, at least for now. It makes her a horrible human being, but what the Hell else is new?

So instead she says, "C'mon. I think I left your balls down at Capizzi's. Get a shower so we can get them back and grab us a pizza in the process."

* * *

Luke gives her hips a light squeeze in lieu of a hug, stepping out of the embrace and away from the counter. "What the hell are they doing down there? Do you take 'em out for a walk so they can get some fresh air from the jar you keep 'em in on your desk?" There is a bit of a rumble in his chest, like a laugh that doesn't full form as he moves off to the shower. "Did you forget them? Or did you lend them out to a friend, because if that's the case, I should at least get something out of this deal…" His voice trails off.

* * *

"No, nobody gets to touch your balls but me," Jessica says dryly. "They were definitely getting cabin fever though, so. Yeah. Fresh air and a w…this is an absolutely terrible joke."

But suddenly she's smirking. She's not sure if he trailed off for all the reasons she thinks he trailed off, but she says, "All the same, I think I can make sure you get a little something out of the deal."

Well, that's the sign her temper is back in its box. Jar?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License